Judge Nixes NGO Visit to Jailed Rights Workers

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday denied rights organization Licadho’s request to visit four rights workers, an election official and prominent land rights activist Tep Vanny in prison today, without providing a reason, a Licadho officer said.

“Our team of 7 general staff were suppose[d] to go to CC1, CC2 [and] PJ prisons,” said Naly Pilorge, Licadho’s deputy director of advocacy, in a message on Thursday, referring to correctional facilities in Phnom Penh.

Licadho submitted an initial request last Friday to visit the six prisoners, Ms. Pilorge said.

The group changed the date of the visit and resubmitted their request on Tuesday, she said.

“No reasons [were] given for refusal,” Ms. Pilorge added, explaining that a court clerk had said that Investigating Judge Theam Chan Piseth denied the group’s request.

The judge referred questions to a court spokesman, who could not be reached.

Last month, three human rights NGOs, including Licadho, were denied access to the four officials from rights group Adhoc and the National Election Committee officer, who have been in prison for a year without trial.

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